June 23, 2021
Women of any age interested in exploring spirituality and deepening their spiritual lives meet...
The Strategic Planning Team is employing the Appreciative Inquiry planning process that seeks to identify “life-giving forces” that are present in a congregation when it is functioning well and to use these aspects of the congregation at its very best to move in a desired direction. This planning process first focuses on our congregation’s deepest identity and our many gifts .We can then come to address new initiatives from a position of strength.
The Appreciative Inquiry Process works by way of a Planning Team for the purpose of leading the process and gathering information from the congregation. One of the most important functions of the Planning Team is to listen and take notes during all the small group meetings where congregation members are telling their stories, reflecting on our Church at its very best, and imagining the future of First Community. .
This Planning Team has already completed community statistical research, the collection of demographic data & economic development trends, and church trends in the US. This team will look into the history of our Church, an assessment of the current physical locations, staffing needs, governance structures and their ability to carry the congregation forward, our congregation’s readiness for change, and lastly, will move into an imagining process around the future of First Community. This work will be completed as part of four basic planning phases: Discovery, Dream, Design and Deliver.
From all these pieces, plus a lot of prayer, the Planning Team will bring to light the next guiding principles for the future of our Church. These guiding principles will likely be in the form of 3 or 4 Mission Imperatives that will guide our Church for the immediate future. At the end of our strategic planning process, a final report of the Mission Imperatives will be given to the Governing Board for approval. The Mission Imperatives will guide the Senior Minster, Glen Miles, and the Program Staff to develop an action plan for fulfilling these goals.
The Governing Board and Strategic Planning Team are grateful for the nearly 300 church participants who attended the Appreciative Inquiry small group sessions, filled out the all-church survey, or emailed the Planning Team with their ideas.
Pam Shisler, Planning Team Chair, led the team as they held 30 Appreciative Inquiry meetings, amassed 93 surveys, and researched multiple articles on current church trends. Concurrently, Governing Board members, led by GB Vice Chair Alice Finley, physically or virtually attended 16 different church services, and explored the websites of other churches to gather additional information. In addition, GB members invited friends to attend First Community services, explore our website, and offer feedback regarding our current offerings. The Board members then condensed all their data to identify the most innovative programming and content provided by churches that are similar to First Community.
The next steps include sharing the information that the GB gathered with the Planning Team, data distillation, and identifying themes that the team will then condense into the Mission Imperatives.
It is an exciting time for First Community as we are invested in this work!
Pam Shisler, Planning Team Chair
Catherine Adams, Paul Anderson, Terry Davis ,Tanner Gaerke, Jamie Greene, Glen Miles, Jodi Patton, Cydney Philbin, and Carrie Schwab for their commitment to this important work.
Churchwide emails will be sent on a regular basis to keep the church informed on this process.